Building drought resilience by scaling out farming practices that will enhance the productive capacity of sandy soil landscapes

Project Location
Project Manager
Naomi Scholz
Start Date
April 2022
Finish Date
June 2024
Funding Source
Future Drought Fund Soils & Landscape Grant and GRDC
Funding Amount


This project will enhance the drought resilience of farmers who manage 3 million hectares of sandy soils in the low-medium rainfall landscape of southeast Australia.

This will be achieved through the adoption of practices that enhance the productive capacity of sandy soils by overcoming constraints including water repellence & compacted layers that prevent root growth & access to moisture & nutrients.

Practices proven to work in small-scale trials will be scaled-out at 16 demonstration sites to build farmers’ confidence across an extensive landscape of the Eyre Peninsula, Upper Yorke Peninsula, Mallee & Southeast regions.

Case studies will be used to document outcomes from sites, with this information extended directly to 400 farmers through 17 events implemented by a consortium of grower groups. The project will also disseminate case studies using a digital extension hub & established social media networks to ensure maximum impact with farmers managing sandy soils across Australia.

Project partners:

The consortium is made up of 4 grower groups and a university:

  • Ag Innovation & Research Eyre Peninsula (AIR EP)
  • Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF)
  • MacKillop Farm Management Group (MFMG)
  • Northern Sustainable Soils (NSS)
  • University of South Australia

Delivery partners include:

  • GRDC
  • Frontier Farming Systems
  • Trengove Consulting
  • Soil Function Consulting

The project has been funded through the Future Drought Fund’s Drought Resilient Soils and Landscapes grants program and the Grains Research & Development Corporation, and is supported by the SA Drought Resilience and Adoption Hub.

Useful resources:


A series of fact sheets have been produced in an earlier GRDC funded project: Increasing production on sandy soils in low and medium rainfall areas of the Southern Region, GRDC Project CSP00203.

Seeding sandy soils - Managing water repellence at seeding: moisture access strategies

Soil wetter - Managing water repellence at seeding: soil wetting agents

Inclusion ripping technology - Understanding passive inclusion ripping

Ripping technology - Technology considerations for cost-effective subsoil loosening

Soil mixing by spading


Check out the Sandy Soil App produced as part of the GRDC Sands Impact project, for all the trial results across all sites and regions.

Sandy soil App - Sandbox


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